by Alistair Sewell
The initial read-through was a brilliant introduction to rehearsals, as we enjoyed a cold- lunch style spread, it was exciting to finally bring life to the script. And now the weekend approaches when we finally move into the Playhouse. The technical side of the play is starting to smooth over, only possible thanks to our won- derful stage managers Kim Patch and Olivia Bedard. They do a stellar job keeping track of the copious amount of props we handle and keep us on schedule despite our many breaks in character, they are exceptionally patient when I call out "Line!" for Kenny's one to two-word response, and they've put up with the obscene amount of kibble I've spilled to practice for the opening scene.
Liz Flahive has an acute ability to balance how close the audience gets to the issues that arise in the play. She speckles the play with humor after emotional segments and refrains from dramatizing the story to the point of becoming unrelatable. I found aligning myself to the ideas portrayed through the script was easy, when it comes to the dialogue of teenagers specifically, Liz Flahive's writing is right on. Not one to exude self-confidence, most of Kenny's answers are either short or indirect. This aversion of holding steadfast to one belief or opinion affects his willingness to vocalize his emotions and to healthily process them with others. The sheer lack of communication between Kenny and his mother Grace reveals itself when they're sitting side-by-side in a police station, of all places. Grace addresses the "incident" with Kenny, because it's an emotionally charged subject, and he attempts to shut it down. However, while not everything that needs to be expressed is said between them, their conversation in the station is a small sign of hope for Kenny and Grace.
The rehearsal process has been terrific so far and I can't wait to head into the performance run.
Okay, okay, one last thing! Here is one of my favorite moments in the play. Grace tries to ameliorate Kenny's less-than-satisfactory situation on the morning of his return to school by attempting to divert his energies to a new — utterly harmless! — skill. She presents him with a saxophone she bought, because apparently he had mentioned to his doctor that he might consider "band" as a potential prospect to finding an outlet. Lauren gives him a slingshot. Her abrasive, humorous approach is exactly what Kenny needs, and she demonstrates that she is perhaps the only person who can face what Kenny did and not be afraid to touch him.